Mary Torregrossa on Poets Cafe

The following interview of Mary Torregrossa by Lois P. Jones originally aired on KPFK Los Angeles (reproduced with permission).



Biographical Information—Mary Torregrossa

Mary Torregrossa’s poetry appears in Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, in Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, and forthcoming in Voices From Leimert Park Redux, an anthology of “observers and keepers of culture” from the World Stage in Los Angeles. Individual poems are part of the Poems of Arrival Project, an art installation by ShinPei Takeda at the New Americans Museum in San Diego and in Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s Poems for Unity project, as well as Lament For The Dead, a project honoring victims of gun violence. Mary is a winner of the Arroyo Arts Collective Poetry In The Windows community event and named Newer Poet of Los Angeles by Suzanne Lummis and the Los Angles Poetry Festival. She’s the author of My Zócalo Heart just released by Finishing Line Press.


She snaps a kitchen towel
at the brood of hens and chicks
that strut near the table in the yard.

Having cleaned the maiz
of pebbles and bits of stalk
she rattles grit-addled flint in a sieve.

She kneels by a heavy stone metate
grinding field corn into tiny bees,
her hands pound and roll the kernels

with a long, black mano. Intent
as watching rain fall she guides
the pestle’s spark against the grain.

A fine golden powder rises up
like a dust plume after un temblor,
clings to the soft hairs on her arms.

She sweeps the cornmeal
with a stiff straw brush,
piles it high into a blue enamel dish.

Her daughter’s small complaint
from yesterday, her husband’s firm
determined plans para manana

winnow like wheat from the chaff.

A yellow sun shines in her bowl


From My Zócalo Heart.